Stewart Copeland breaks down The Police in a new book and orchestral live show

Kelli Skye Fadroski, The Orange County Register on

Published in Entertainment News

ANAHEIM, Calif. — As he sifted through the hours and hours of Super 8 footage for the 2006 rockumentary, “Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out,” The Police drummer Stewart Copeland knew he needed familiar music from the band to go along with the film.

But he didn’t want to play it straight. Instead, he found recordings of “obscure moments, improvisations on stage and wild jams” to create alternate versions of Police material for the movie, which he dubbed “derangements.”

“I started carving up these songs and as soon as the scalpel came out, the orgy began,” the 70-year-old drummer said during a recent phone interview from his home in Santa Monica. He’d also just collected his latest Grammy award at the 65th annual ceremony in Los Angeles for the “Divine Tides” project with Ricky Kej, which features music from all over the world.

The pieces of music he’d hacked up for The Police film came in handy once more as Copeland — who has now long composed popular film, television and video game scores and worked with orchestras for live performances all over the world — decided to take the cuts of these Police hits and create orchestral arrangements for them. He’s performing this music, dubbed Police Deranged for Orchestra, live in several spots overseas, but he’s playing a one-off gig in Southern California at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio on March 25.

Dissecting the originals

The show includes Copeland on drums, a band and a full orchestra performing songs such as “Walking on the Moon,” “Roxanne,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” All of these songs, he said, were ones he more easily transitioned into usable tracks for the film score and orchestral treatments.


“Message in a Bottle,” however, was a challenge.

“It’s like a diamond,” he said of the band’s 1979 hit. “You just can’t cut that song up. I will not subdivide and you just can’t improve on the original form. I did orchestrate it, but the form of the song is what it is, always has been and ever shall be.”

Aside from the song “The Equalizer Busy Equalizing,” which he composed for the ’80s TV series “The Equalizer,” the rest of the set is solely dedicated to The Police.

“People know it and they like it,” he said. “An important ingredient in liking it is knowing it. Familiarity is a big ingredient for burning down the house. There’s a reason for that, which is memory and music are so intertwined and a part of what music does is inflame memories, nostalgia and emotion in a way that almost nothing else does.


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